Playwright, Screenwriter, and Film Director. He is probably best remembered for his 1940 political satire comedy film, "The Great McGinty" that won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1941. Born Edmund Preston Biden, his father was a traveling salesman. At age 3, he moved to Paris, France with his mother who attempted to establish a singing career and over the next 12 years he moved back and forth between Europe and the US. In 1916 his stepfather got him a job as a runner for the New York City, New York stockbrokers and the following year he joined the US Army Air Service after the US entry into World War I but was never sent overseas. From 1919 until 1928 he worked as a manager at the Desti Emporium in New York City. He became interested in acting and in 1928 he performed and produced a Broadway play "Hotbed," followed by "The Guinea Pig" a year later. The same year, he wrote the play "Strictly Dishonorable" that achieved great success and attracted Hollywood interests. In 1932 he started free-lance writing screenplays for the Hollywood film studios, including "The Power and the Glory" (1933) which he sold to 20th Century Fox Studios and it became the inspiration for the screenwriters of the classic film "Citizen Kane." From 1940 through 1944 he wrote and directed his greatest comedies, including "The Great McGinty" (1940), "Christmas in July" (1940), "The Lady Eve" (1941), "Sullivan's Travels" (1942), "The Palm Beach Story" (1942), "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" (1944), and "Hail the Conquering Hero" (1944). In 1944 he left Paramount Studios following prolonged disputes and formed a new partnership with entrepreneur Howard Hughes to establish a film company called California Pictures. During this time, he worked with 20th Century Fox and wrote, produced, and directed "Unfaithfully Yours" (1948) and "The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend" (1949). His careen then began to decline and his next film, "The Sin of Harold Diddlebock" was released until 1950 and was poorly received, and by that time he had split ways with California Pictures. In the early 1950s he made several attempts at writing Broadway musicals but they proved unsuccessful. Beset upon by the Internal Revenue Service for delinquent taxes, he began spending more time in Europe where he wrote and directed his final film "Les Carnets du Major Thompson" (1955), which was released two years later in the US under "The French, They Are a Funny Race." During his life, he was married four times, first to Estelle deWolfe Mudge (1923 to 1928), socialite Eleanor Close Hutton (1930 to 1932), Louise Sargent Tevis (1938 to 1947), and Anne Margaret "Sandy" Nagle (1951 until his death). He died of a heart attack at the age of 60 while working on his autobiography. In 1975 he was posthumously awarded the Screen Writers Guild's Laurel Award. His autobiography, "Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges: His Life in His Words" was published posthumously in 1990. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to films.
Bio by: William Bjornstad
Edmund C Biden